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Body of slain model had teeth, fingers removed

Ryan Jenkins, believed to be in Canada, charged with wife's killing.
/ Source: The Orange County Register

BUENA PARK – The body of a strangled swimsuit model was missing its teeth and fingers when it was found in a trash bin, police said Thursday.

The mother of the slain woman, who was present at a police news conference, burst into tears as Buena Park police Lt. Steve Holliday described how the body was found. Holliday declined to say how the model, Jasmine Fiore, was identified.

Fiore’s husband, a former reality-show contestant, has been charged with murdering her, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities believe Ryan Alexander Jenkins, 32, may have slipped across the border into Canada. Police have been searching for him since the body of Fiore, his wife, was found stuffed in a suitcase in Buena Park on Saturday. She had apparently been strangled.

Prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint filed Thursday that Jenkins killed Fiore sometime around Friday, “with malice aforethought.” An arrest warrant says he should be held in lieu of $10 million bail, prosecutor said.

The search for Jenkins shifted to Canada late Wednesday, when sheriff's deputies in far northwestern Washington found a black BMW SUV and an empty boat trailer.

A witness reported seeing a man matching Jenkins’ description arrive by boat at the tip of a peninsula across a bay from where the car was found. A search of the area turned up an abandoned boat there. Both the BMW and the boat belonged to Jenkins, police said.

The peninsula is accessible by land only to Canada. Authorities believe Jenkins, who is Canadian, was able to cross the border on foot, according to the Whatcom County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office.

At an afternoon news conference, Buena Park police Chief Tom Monson said, "I can also promise the vigorous and judicious pursuit of justice in this case."

Family members of Fiore, including her mother, Lisa Lepore, declined to speak at the news conference.

But Robert Hasman, a former boyfriend of Fiore's, said: "Ryan Jenkins is an animal. What he's done to Jasmine is unspeakable."

"Jasmine was a beautiful person," Hasman added. "She loved her family and friends."

Hasman pleaded with the family of Jenkins to help bring him to authorities.

Jenkins and Fiore checked into the L’Auberge Del Mar hotel in San Diego on Aug. 13, prosecutors said. Jenkins checked out the next morning, but Fiore wasn’t seen alive again, prosecutors said.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, at 7:10 a.m. Buena Park police responded to a call of a body in a dumpster at an apartment complex. They found a large blood-stained gray suitcase containing the body of a woman. The victim had been badly beaten, all of her fingers had been cut off, and all of her teeth had been forcibly removed, prosecutors said.

Jenkins filed a missing-persons report on Fiore at 8:55 p.m. Saturday at the West Hollywood station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In it, he said he had not heard from Fiore since Friday afternoon, when she dropped him off at their Los Angeles apartment. They had just returned from a trip to San Diego, he wrote, and she was going to run errands and get her nails done.

The U.S. Marshal's Service is assisting in the preparation of a federal warrant for Jenkins that could be used in extraditing him from Canada, police said.

Jenkins, nicknamed “Smooth Operator” for his confident turn on the VH1 reality show “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” apparently met and married Fiore in Las Vegas earlier this year. He was arrested in late April and charged with “battery constituting domestic violence” over allegations that he hit her in the arm with his fist, according to the criminal complaint.

Jenkins has a criminal record in his hometown of Calgary, Canada. He was sentenced to 15 months of probation in January 2007 on an unspecified assault charge, according to the Alberta, Canada, Ministry of Justice. No further details were available.

He described himself on the Web site for the VH1 show as an investment banker from Calgary. On the show, he and 17 other men competed for the affections of a woman.

Police described him as 6 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing 195 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.

Court records show that Fiore was arrested for driving under the influence in Las Vegas on July 4, 2007. It was her second offense; she pleaded no contest and was ordered to attend a DUI program, according to the records.

A Los Angeles neighbor, James Goin, said “Jasmine was a really nice girl and we are sad to hear about the tragedy. She was a good neighbor.”

Buena Park police ask anyone with information to call the department’s tip line at 714-562-3847.

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